Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Company, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are the two names (I’m sure) everyone is aware about. Now the catch is that many of you won’t have any idea about Goodyear’s contribution in NASA. Exactly, even I became aware when I heard the news that both of them have been honoured with the R&D 100 Award for their airless tyre, capable of transporting large and long range vehicles across the surface of the celestial bodies such as Mars or Moon. The ‘Oscars of Innovation’ which was the 44th Annual R&D Awards ceremony was held in Orlando, Florida.
This tyre was developed by the 800 load bearing springs. The reason for the load bearing springs was to make this tyre capable of carrying the load of heavier vehicles and that too at a great distance than the previously used wire mesh tyre. This tyre though was made simply for the celestial bodies but the manufacturers believe that it might also have a good application on earth. According to NASA this tyre will allow them for a broader exploration of the planetary outposts as well as for the development and maintenance of the same. This heavy duty spring tyre was installed on the Lunar Electric Rover test vehicle of NASA, last year. It then was later tested at the NASA’s “Rock Yard” in the Johnson Space Centre in Houston.
The idea of these heavy duty spring tyres as well as the original Apollo Lunar mission tyres is the sole thought that the normal rubber tyres used on earth will prove to have less utility in space. Reason being, that rubber has very less significance at the time of extreme cold or extreme hot temperature and especially the unfiltered solar radiation will definitely pose to be a danger to the rubber and pneumatic tyres.